Updated Fantasy Baseball Hold rankings for May 2013 – Middle reliever and setup men emerging as talented relief

There are a number of arms beginning to establish themselves as the premier middle relievers to own for holds in 2013, and there are a number of top names that are steadily dropping down the list.  For the first time, in this article I will highlight how much movement there has been in the rankings, and then discuss some of the names on the rise.

The column “Change” denotes how far up or down the pitcher has moved since my last hold rankings were published a week ago.  If that category says “UP” that means they were not in the top 40 in holds on the latest rankings.  As you would expect, there was a good deal of movement as the hold numbers are still relatively low, but as the season progresses, these rankings should steady out.

These rankings are intended to show who is your best shot at earning holds in fantasy baseball, so while there are a few crazy good strikeout guys ranked lower, and a few not so good ERA guys (Axford) ranked higher, that doesn’t change the fact everyone is looking for as many holds as possible, so that is the first order in my rankings

Top 40+ Holds rankings – May 2nd, 2013 (All stats accurate as of May 2nd)

1Mark Melancon0PIT101515.0130.600.60
2Eric O’Flaherty+2ATL81211.261.540.77
3Junichi Tazawa0BOS81312.2142.840.95
4Koji Uehara+1BOS71210.2121.690.75
5Trevor Rosenthal+1STL71515.2203.451.28
6Matt Thornton+10CHW7127.133.681.36
7James Russell+16CHC61411.0130.000.55
8Jesse Crain+19CHW61411.0151.641.36
9Matt Belisle-2COL61416.1162.201.04
10Kenley Jansen-8LAD61414.0152.571.07
11Tony Watson+4PIT61313.1124.731.05
12John Axford+28MIL61311.11310.321.76
13Aaron Crow+1KC597.140.000.82
14Tanner Scheppers+10TEX51213.280.661.10
15Luke GregersonUPSD51212.181.460.73
16Jared Burton-8MIN51110.1120.870.68
17Joel Peralta+15TB51210.2101.690.84
18Tom Gorzelanny+17MIL51411.291.540.86
19Santiago Casilla+10SF51614.0102.571.21
20Scott Downs+16LAA51311.083.271.55
21David RobertsonUPNYY51211.2133.860.94
22David Hernandez-9ARI51313.2154.611.46
23Paco Rodriguez-6LAD5159.0104.000.89
24Darren O’Day-15BAL41413.2130.660.88
25Rex Brothers+3COL41513.1160.681.28
26Robbie Ross+7TEX41112.080.751.08
27Al Alburquerque-6DET41212.0211.501.42
28Drew SmylyUPDET4918.0201.500.94
29Mike DunnUPMIA41513.2131.981.39
30Joaquin BenoitUPDET41212.1142.191.14
31Ronald Belisario+8LAD41413.1152.701.58
32Brian MatuszUPBAL41212.1122.920.73
33Vinnie Pestano-23CLE488.082.251.13
34Dale ThayerUPSD41212.2122.130.87
35Brad Ziegler-24ARI41716.092.811.13
36Tim CollinsUPKC489.2102.790.83
37Brian Duensing0MIN4108.172.161.32
38Aaron Loup-13TOR41214.073.211.36
39Darren Oliver-5TOR41211.043.271.55
40Kelvin Herrera-10KC41312.1195.111.30
41Scott AtchisonUPNYM41312.243.551.18
42Jeremy Affeldt-24SF464.235.791.93
43Shawn CampUPCHC41411.196.351.68
44Tyler Clippard-6WSH41110.194.351.26
45Drew Storen-3WSH41010.1125.231.55

news and notes – Fantasy baseball hold rankings – May 2013

Top middle relievers on the rise

By now Mark Melancon should be long gone in all leagues that reward holds, and even in a large majority of those leagues that don’t thanks to his superb ERA/WHIP, but there are still a number of sleeper names on this list to grab that are slowly working their way up the rankings.

James Russell of the Cubs is one of the few bright spots at the back end of the bullpen, as he has yet to allow an earned run this season, while racking up 6 saves.  He is a sneaky candidate to start earning saves if Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg continue to struggle in the 9th innning.

Jesse Crain of the White Sox is another name that has risen nearly 20 spots in the rankings, as he comes in with 6 holds, over a K per inning, and a terrific ERA/WHIP.  If you are in need of a middle reliever to lock down holds in your league, and the other top names are gone, Crain should be a solid reliever for your fantasy bullpen.

John Axford… ahh the dichotomy that is Axford continues, even as a middle reliever.  He continues to rack up the holds, which moved him up the list, but he is still the last man we recommend grabbing out of the 6 holds group.  Good news?? He is likely gone in your league already, and while he should continue to see multiple opportunities for holds going forward, that ERA will likely hover in the high 4’s all season (assuming he can bring it down that far)

Middle relievers dropping like a rock

David Hernandez of the Diamondbacks was widley regarded as one of the top setup men in baseball, and one of the premier guys to draft in leagues that count holds, but after one month of action he owns a 4.61 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.  Both Hernandez and Putz have had their share of struggles early on, but there is still plenty of time to stop the freefall.  Don’t give up on David just yet (unless you have a solid trade offer on the table)

Vinnie Pestano of the Indians is rumored to be the closer-in-waiting in Cleveland, and while he is doing his part out of the bullpen, he just isn’t seeing enough opportunities to be considered a must start in shallow leagues.  So far in 2013, Pestano has appeared in just 8 games for the Tribe, while accumulating 8 IP.  In deeper formats he is a dominant middle reliever, but the hold chances are likely to be few and far between

Al Alburquerque has been one of the more dominant middle relivers, but suffers from the same problem as Pestano, a lack of opportunities.  Alburquerque has 21 K’s in 12 innings thus far in 2013, and if you want ratio help (ERA/WHIP) combined with K’s he is a must have.  This article is about holds however, and Alburquerque has managed just 4 thus far in the season, making him a fringe own for owners hoping to pick up a few extra holds off waivers.

The where did they come from list (Or waiver wire list for deep league owners)

These are the guys that have jumped up the ranks, after not even making the top 40 just a week ago.

#15 – Luke Gregerson
#21 – David Robertson
#28 – Drew Smyly
#29 – Mike Dunn
#30 – Joaquin Benoit
#32 – Brian Matusz
#34 – Dale Thayer
#36 – Tim Collins
#41 – Scott Atchison
#43 – Shawn Camp

Gregerson is tops on this list for a reason, if you need saves, he should be one of the first names you look for off waivers.

Have any questions or comments for me about these hold rankings for May 2nd, 2013?  Hit me up in the forums, I am always available to answer our reader’s questions.

Junichi Tazawa

Junichi Tazawa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Founder at Fantasy Team Advice
FTA Founder.Born in So Cal, living in Denver.Angels and Rockies fan.You can find me in the forums
  • Steve

    No mention of either Tazawa or Uehara…which do you like better ROS? Do you like them better than Rosenthal?

    • __KJ__

      I thought they would already be owned in holds leagues :). For the rest of season I prefer both of them over Rosenthal for their experience. Trevor will record more strikeouts, but the ERA/WHIP isn’t nearly as good